common question

i bet you guys get this one all the time, but i wondered if you could answer it again.

“In the OT, the ten commandments say “Thou Shalt Not Kill”, yet the israelites kill thousands of people, men women and children, they wipe out entire nations/civilizations of people, and just after Moses comes down from mount sinai the levites are told to slaughter thousands of isrealites”

That was a question from a friend about Christianity, i was wondering how to answer it without making God look contradictory on his ideas of morality.

IMO the OT contains much of what constitutes the understanding of God by the Jews *filtered by their own agenda/preferences. *As mankind grows in knowledge of God, older concepts of His will are increasingly recognized as our own will. As grace and revelation have their affect-the greatest revelation and grace-filled event being the incarnation of Jesus Christ, man is challenged to grow deeper in his understanding of God-and to grow more dependent on Him, and to grow less dependent on ourselves and our own understanding.

The God of the NT seems quite different in many ways from the God of the NT, and we’re drawn to become more like Him, to grow in the image of Love, which leads us to fulfill the Law, including the 5th commandment. I think it takes time to get us where God would have mankind be-a lot of time.

It’s also important to note that not everything in the bible is in there because God approves of it, it’s in there because the book is partly a history and telling of events.

People who have no knowledge of the history of the OT events or the reasons why certain battles were fought, why God commanded the destruction of certain peoples need to put these things in their proper perspective.

Having said that, the command not to kill means to plot the murder of an innocent person. It says nothing whatsoever about warfare. Jesus himself never said warfare was inherently wrong or violated the commandment. It is murder for gain or out of hatred that violates the law.

God was not unjust in any of his commands for he is the giver and taker of life. The commandments were given for men to govern themselves rightly in the eyes of God, not to prevent them from defending themselves or destroying gross wickedness in a just war. If we were to go by your friend’s standard all wars are bad. They certainly aren’t to be sought, but sometimes they are necessary.

Yes, like WWII. Jews were being slaughtered, the only right thing to do was to stop it.

Yes, wars can sometimes be mirky and oftentimes things are done that in hindsight seem overly cruel, such as the bombing of Hiroshima, but at the time certain actions were necessary to break the will of the enemy and prevent him from being able to carry on unjust aggression against innocent peoples. Those who moan over Hiroshima forget the Japanese slaughered thousands of Chinese and others in the countries they occupied, or how they treated US POWs. Such evils had to be stopped, and unfortunately, war was the only way to make that happen.

Yes, and the only other way to stop Japan would have to invade which may have resulted in more deaths than the bombings did. The invasion would have resulted in probably most extensive shelling that the war would have seen and a lot of innocents would still have been killed.

Thank you very much for the excellent question! Please consider the following concepts:
To understand this, one must gain a better understanding of killing.
Killing is defined by Google as causing death.
Death is defined as the end of life.
The end of life can be recognized as proceeding from existing to no longer existing.
When a life exists in respect to another’s life, they essentially matter to the other life.
Therefore, from an outside person’s perspective, when you matter to them, you exist, and when you do not matter to them, you do not exist. Where matter is defined as be of importance or significance.

Since God Word is as it was, as it is, and as it always will be, He is telling us that when others around us freely choose to live immorally, make them not matter to us. In doing so, since they will have gone from having existence in our lives to no longer having existence in our minds, we will have essentially killed them.

Please share ideas where you see this interpretation could be improved or is faulty.

I believe that the original Hebrew translated more accurately to “murder”. I can not say with certainty what (if any) different words would have distinguished between the two, but I understand it to specifically refer to the type of unjustified killing that would have resulted in “bloodguilt”.

The whole of the Hebrew Scriptures speaks of justified killing in the context of warfare, self-defense, and criminal justice that does not result in “bloodguilt”.

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